DELANO, Minn. -- John Tackaberry has been in the car business for more than 30 years. This is the worst he's ever seen it.
"Honestly, there's a shortage of used. There's a huge shortage," he says.
What's on the lot at Star West Chevrolet-Honda in Delano is reflective of what's happening everywhere. "I mean when you look at Cash for Clunkers and the financial 9/11 we've had, so to speak, we haven't come back from it. The car market hasn't come back," says Tackaberry.
Though the economy isn't nearly as weak as it was a few years ago, people are holding on to their cars longer. There are plenty of reasons for that, but the overriding factor is that cars simply last longer these days.
"There's no compelling reason for me to spend my money on a new car or a replacement car because my current car does just fine, and also, if i want to replace it, I have to look at what I'm going to replace it with, and what the costs associated with that alternative are," says professor Akshay Rao with Carlson School of Management.
The fact is the cost to replace your old car with a slightly newer one has gone up because the supply has gone down. So, used may not be the best option, at least right now.
"In most cases, if you work it backwards, the better investment is the new vehicle," says Tackaberry.
Why? Tackaberry says you get lower interest rates on new cars, better fuel economy, and of course, little maintenance costs. And until even more good jobs start becoming available, he expects to see even more people holding on to what they've got.
"I had a car last week with 250,000 miles," says Tackaberry.
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